Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Making bread

I am about to reveal to you how to make the best bread in the world. I cannot take any credit for it. The summer of 2007, I lived with an amazing family in Colorado while I worked at their ice-cream shop. Carol, the mom, taught me how to make this bread, and I don't even want to look at another bread recipe in my life. I will even claim this bread is fool-proof. Although if you make it and it doesn't turn out, I don't know...maybe you need to go live with Carol.

Yesterday, Aaron asked if I was going to make bread. The birthday boy glow was still halo-ing out from him, and I do love him a lot. Bread it was.
A little picture to get your appetite whetted:
This bread is not hard to make. I make the dough in my KitchenAid mixer, which takes the difficulty level down a few more notches, but it's still totally possible without the KA. (Which, as a side note, I use practically every day. It is incredible. I think I could become a spokewoman for the KitchenAid mixer. Since I'm on the subject, look at this cute thing from an Etsy artist. )
Here is the recipe:
Carol's Homemade Bread

2 T. yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
2 t. sugar

Mix yeast, water, and sugar together. Let sponge for five minutes. It will look something like this:

(The reflection gives me away...I am wearing socks and granny houseshoes.)

Add 1 c. flour and let sit for 20 minutes.

Add 3 T. oil, 1 c. sugar, 1 T. salt, 3 c. lukewarm water, and 7-8 c. flour. Sometimes I use less sugar. I have found that I usually need upside of 8 c. flour to make the dough not sticky. This recipe is so versatile, because you can substitute in a lot of things for some of the flour. For instance, yesterday I used 4 c. whole wheat flour, a little bit of oat bran (1/2 c. maybe?), and some wheat gluten. Mix all this together (either using the dough hook on the KA or a strong hand and a wooden spoon). If you are using the dough hook, you can let it do the kneading, or you can also knead by hand. I usually knead some by hand, because it is cathartic.

After kneading 8-10 minutes, cover the dough and let rise in a warm place 1 hour. Do not think that it is a good idea to set it on the stove and turn on a nearby burner to create a warm atmosphere. I once did that heard a story about a college girl who did that with roll dough and the towel caught on fire, sending the whole bowl up in flames. The fire extinguisher had to be used, campus safey had to be called...it was not pretty.

After 1 hour or so, punch dough down in the middle. Then shape into loaves. This recipe makes approximately 3 medium sized loaves. Let the loaves rise again until double.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Carol always brushed butter over the top of the warm loaves, and I do this too.


One more thing: eat.

3 comments:

  1. First of all, I will personally attest to the fool proof wonderfulness of this bread but I do think being taught by Carol helps, I know I couldn't figure it out until she helped me!
    Second, I laughed out loud at the burner/bread reference! Hey, it is when I learned how a fire extinguisher works!

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  2. wow...delightfully impressed! Maybe I should put your personal testimony about the KA on our wedding website...to encourage people to help us out there :) So you really could advertise in a way. And we could tell people I would make them bread if only they would get us the kitchen aide:)
    P.S. I also wear houseshoes and socks while cooking...

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  3. Lara.
    Yesterday, I made up my mind that I was going to use my morning/afternoon to bake some bread, and I remembered this intriguing post of yours. I ended up using this recipe and...
    WOW.
    Amazing. We love it here and are eating it nonstop. :) Kudos to Carol! And to you for typing up these nice user-friendly instructions. I am eternally grateful... (and I'm sure everyone who lives with me is, too!) ;)

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